Allyson Mackey

Assistant Professor

BS, Biological Sciences, Stanford University

PhD, Neuroscience, University of California Berkeley

I am interested in how changes in the brain give rise to changes in the mind, both as development unfolds, and in response to experience. Over the course of development, maturational changes restrict plasticity. These changes are generally adaptive as they allow for the development of mature function, and prevent drastic remodeling in response to stress or injury. However, reduced plasticity limits the acquisition of new facts and skills. Therefore, developing brains must strike a balance between plasticity/vulnerability and stability/protection. My lab will study the mechanisms by which environmental factors tip this balance to shorten or shift windows of peak plasticity.

My years in inner city public schools, first as a student, and then as a researcher, have led me to concentrate my translational work on reducing the income achievement gap. Research on brain maturation and plasticity will help determine the best age at which to intervene. Research on cognitive development will guide the design of programs to boost cognitive skills and academic achievement. Ultimately, the goal of my research is to promote positive educational and health outcomes for all individuals, regardless of socioeconomic background.

Professor Allyson Mackey will be considering new graduate students for admission for Fall 2017.

Office Location: 
Room 354, Levin Building, 425 S. University Ave.
Phone: 
215-573-3074
Research Interests: 

Brain plasticity, learning, structural and functional neuroimaging, real-world academic outcomes

Selected Publications: 

Mackey, A. P., Finn, A. S., Leonard, J. A., Jacoby-Senghor, D. S., West, M. R., Gabrieli, C. F. O., & Gabrieli, J. D. E. (2015). Neuroanatomical correlates of the income-achievement gap. Psychological Science, 26(6), 925–33.

Mackey, A. P., Miller Singley, A. T., & Bunge, S. A. (2013). Intensive reasoning training alters patterns of brain connectivity at rest. The Journal of Neuroscience, 33(11), 4796–803.

Mackey, A. P., Whitaker, K. J., & Bunge, S. A. (2012). Experience-dependent plasticity in white matter microstructure: reasoning training alters structural connectivity. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy. http://doi.org/10.3389/fnana.2012.00032

Mackey, A. P., Hill, S. S., Stone, S. I., & Bunge, S. A. (2011). Differential effects of reasoning and speed training in children. Developmental Science, 14(3), 582–590.

Courses Taught: 
  • PSYC 149 (Intro to Cognitive Neuroscience)